Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Obama's last State of the Union
Some of the speech I wish the President had made (please share if you agree):
My fellow Americans, the State of Our Union is “strong.” The State of Our Politics, however, is in critical condition.
In America this morning, a nurse and a teacher arose before dawn to go into work caring for our most vulnerable populations. Restaurants served their patrons. A cop walked the beat. A firefighter ran into a burning building. Americans are strong and more resilient than ever. The capacity of Americans to work for a better world is well established.
But in this chamber and across the various levels of the political spectrum, a poison is coursing through the veins of our body politic. It is fed by fear and isolationism. It is metastasizing across social media where vicious attacks become viral sensations. It destroys our good faith in the institutions of a civilized society. It helps and gives encouragement to our enemies.
Only Americans possess the ability to damage and undermine American values. We do this when we limit voting rights, stay home on Election Day and surrender to cynicism. We do this when we pull the ladder of progress up behind us and say “I’ve got mine, you stay out.” We do this when we argue for decades against ensuring that all citizens have access to quality healthcare. We do this when 20 first graders are brutally murdered in a public school and we do nothing about it.
Shame on us. Shame on all of us, without exception. The American people are getting up every morning and going to work to take care of themselves; to provide a better future for their children; to serve their communities. Why isn’t the Congress doing at least as much for kids as a cafeteria worker? Why does it take a campaign of shaming Congress to pass a bill providing medical care for 9/11 first responders? Why is it that the mass shooting of civilians on a regular basis is not the subject of official inquiry by a select committee?
Where would we be if the NYPD and FDNY behaved on 9/11 as you do today?
This can change and it can happen overnight. The people in this room can make that happen by making a choice. You can choose to elect citizenship over partisan rancor and you can do it right night now. You can decide that some things have to be handled without a political lens – things like security and infrastructure. You can do things for the good of the country, regardless of how it plays in your district, then you can explain that to you constituents. You can be leaders. And you know what? You SHOULD do that, because that’s what the voters sent you here to do.
One of these days, they’re going start measuring you against THAT standard – what’s good for the country, not just what’s good for keeping you in office. Will you be ready?